I’ll be honest, I don’t want to write this – I have to.
Before I unload, I want to introduce myself. Past my name & what I eat and what my favorite destination is. I want to introduce myself so that you might know where I am coming from.
I didn’t go to church growing up. I went to a Lutheran high school, but I didn’t go to church. I avoided being put in the situation where I had to admit I knew nothing about the Bible, or Jesus. I was intimidated and felt like an outsider. I went to a Christian University, but I didn’t go to church. I went to the occasional chapel on campus and sang along, but I felt out of place. I went to a few Austin Stone services and cried because I didn’t have a personal relationship with God and I wanted one. I showed up in hopes that the Holy Spirit would convict me and that would be that.
I was also hesitant because I didn’t know what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. I had/have seen so many examples of what I hope being a believer isn’t like. I’ve met people who exude a beautiful love for Christ and people and also I’ve met people who exude hate for those who believe differently than them. I was scared I would get on board and that I would become someone who was self-righteous and judgmental. I was hopeful I would form a relationship with God and become inspired to love harder – not selectively.
After I graduated college, I finally began consistently devoting time and effort to my relationship with God and it’s been really hard! Some days I approach my Bible with confidence and others with skepticism. Some days I understand the reading and other days I walk away confused.
I am a relatively new follower. Honestly it wasn’t until this recent tragedy that I would even write about my faith publicly. Honestly there are better blog posts written about the refugee crisis from a Christian standpoint – like these two: here & here.
If this tragedy had occurred before I was brave enough to claim my faith, I still would have been in favor of the acceptance of refugees. I’ve always had a rather sensitive heart and a curiosity about other cultures. I love to travel and see how other people live. During those travels I often find myself picturing my life had I been born there. I am aware of how blessed I am to be born privileged, but I also realize that I did nothing to earn this. I wasn’t born to a middle class white family because I’m better. That’s just the way the cookie crumbled. Ideally – every location, gender and race would come with the same privilege. After all, we’re all human with the same bodies and instincts. We all require the same basic necessities to function. We all need a safe, loving environment to thrive. Who am I to say I deserve these things more than someone else? Why can’t I forfeit a fraction of my security for the sake of someone else’s entire existence? Why are we so focused on the lives we may lose instead of the lives we can save? Add in being reminded that 67.4% of Americans believed we should try to keep German & Jewish refugees out when polled in 1939 prior to WWII (which we were later ashamed of) or what is written on the statue of liberty and it’s truly a no brainer for me.
Add in Christ and it’s a double whammy.
He paid with his life so that all of us could live. His will being that we love one another deeply & courageously. There was no caveat. There are no exceptions.
When I first started going to church, I remember a particular sermon that promised being a Christian would not be easy. That there would be sacrifices and maybe even a time we would risk our lives in the name of Christ. I didn’t understand this. In my mind (at the time), I thought my life would be easier if I could just connect. In my mind (at the time), being a skeptic in a Christian University was the hard part. I didn’t forsee having to remind myself and others what it means to follow Christ.
Little did I know what was around the corner.
Since Friday afternoon, my mind has been consumed with anything having to do with Isis & Syrian refugees. I wrote about what I experienced while in Europe (here), but I hadn’t imagined what the response would be when it came to America’s time to open our arms. And now that it’s here, I recall a sermon on how people will follow Christ up until a certain point. How we all have our own borders dictating how far we are willing to go for Christ, and that those lines will be tested. I had know idea that the test would be such high stake, that we would be asked to literally risk our lives to save others. That we would risk our families lives at the opportunity to introduce someone to Christ.
I’ve recently been praying that God show me the path I’m meant follow, that I be moved by something to the point I have to act. I prayed that my gifts be used to do His will. The fact that I absolutely cannot get this topic off my mind seems to be a sign. I knew I had to explore why I feel so strongly about this and what I could possibly do to help.
Then I saw this video and I knew I had to express my belief that we really can make a difference in these peoples’ lives. I just know Jesus would be on the front lines, taking in all of those who are lost, feeding those who are hungry, clothing those who have nothing.